Two local effort part of governor’s state-wide campaign


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Bill Werba installed a large solar array at his farm in Milton only to find out that a rule from Central Hudson does not allow him to recieve an energy credit.
Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal

Two local community efforts to bring solar energy to Dutchess County were part of  Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Solarize campaign program.

A total of 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development across New York state in the second round of Solarize campaigns, part of the Community Solar NY program, Cuomo said in a press release. 

Created in December 2014 under the NY-Sun initiative, the program works to make implementing solar easier and more affordable for New York communities, according to the program’s website. 

The Mid-Hudson Valley region had a total of 395 projects across five campaigns, including the Solarize Wappingers and Solarize Northern Dutchess campaigns. 

“Solarize is a nonprofit, state-supported, community sponsored program to give people the information they need to decide whether solar makes sense for them,” said John Wackman, program manager for Solarize Hudson Valley. “We offer a group purchase discount, and we do a whole lot of homework on behalf of homeowners and building owners. We give people trust and confidence that they’re going to get a good deal, and not sold on something they shouldn’t have. And people really appreciate that.”

Wackman said the program was funded through a New York State Cleaner Greener Communities grant for the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier.

“Together, we are RenewableNY,” he said, adding that Solarize Hudson Valley services five counties: Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnum.

The Solarize campaign, launched by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Center for Economic Growth, is aimed at helping manufacturers install clean-energy producing solar systems, according to a statement from the governor’s office. These campaigns help connect groups of potential solar customers, including low-to-moderate income participants, through widespread outreach and education. This aids customers in choosing solar companies that offer competitive, transparent pricing.

Katherine Nadeau, program director for RenewableNY, said in a statement that the group commends Cuomo for continuing to support solar development, solar jobs, and solar projects.

“Over the last two and a half years our Solarize projects in 15 counties through the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, (and) Mid-Hudson Valley have resulted in 500 contracts and more than 4.3MW of solar capacity — each secured through community partnerships, public education, and collaboration with solar installers and NYSERDA’s support,” she said.

NYSERDA provided $700,000 in technical and marketing support in the first two rounds of the Solarize program, according to the governor’s statement, with projects totaling 13.46 megawatts of installed solar that is saving participants a total of approximately $2.9 million on upfront purchase costs –  an average savings of $1,743 per installation. 

“New York continues to see unprecedented growth in the solar energy industry across the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing jobs, and driving economic growth,” Cuomo said. “By helping residents and businesses install solar energy panels, we are reducing costs for consumers and fueling the clean energy economy in New York for years to come.”

According to the statement, it is “an important component in supporting the State’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the electricity in New York to come from renewable sources by 2030.” 

For more information about Solarize Hudson Valley, visit solarize-hudsonvalley.org. 

Abbott Brant: abrant@poughkeepsiejournal.com; 845-437-4809; Twitter:@AbbottBrantPoJo

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4 August 2017 10:41 pm
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